1. 3 Legged Thing Brian Travel Tripod

    3 Legged Thing Brian

    The Evolution 2 Brian from 3 Legged Thing is the world’s most versatile travel tripod system.

    Built to withstand loads up 8KG, Brian is powerful beyond his size. With the lowest shooting capability of any travel tripod in the world, Brian extends from just 125mm all the way to 2.04m!

    Brian’s patented multi-functional use makes him the most capable and user-friendly travel tripod ever created.

    Wit…

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  2. 08:57 4th Jul 2014

    Notes: 1

    Fujifilm X-T1 Grip and Arca-Swiss Plate Kit

    L-shaped Quick Release Plate Bracket and Grip Kit for the Fujifilm X-T1

    Order from PhotoMadd here.

    This is a custom made CNC machined aluminium plate designed specifically for the Fujifilm X-T1.  Standard tripod plates if left on the X-T1 block access to the battery compartment, this arca-swiss plate can be fitted and left on the X-T1 without interfering with any of the functions of the camera…

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  3. Fujifilm X-T1 Review and Write Up

    I have had the X-T1 for a while now since my first impressions went up about it, it is time to sit down and write-up a proper full review of how I’ve used it over the past few months.  Over that time I’ve played with it, I’ve travelled with it and I’ve used it for professional work and shot everything that I’d normally shoot with it from casual family time to professional interior room shoots with full lighting.  That all gives me a fairly broad view to judge the X-T1 on its performance as an all-rounder.  This is my Fujifilm X-T1 review from the real-world as I’ve used it.

    bab mansour,fuji,fujifilm,meknes,place el hedim,touit 2.8/50M,travel,x-e2,zeiss

    Let me be honest here up front.  I didn’t want to like the X-T1 right from the start.  I love the Fujifilm cameras because of the look of them as much as anything else, the design of the X-Pro1 is just perfect for me, a perfect size to get hold of and use.  A classic camera, minimal, but with great technology on the inside.  It’s not the quickest camera around, but I don’t want or need it to be.  The whole design makes you want to slow down and think about what you’re doing before pressing the shutter button.  That in turn helps improve your skills as it makes you think first, that’s what made me fall in love with the Fujifilm X-Series in the first place.

    50m,50mm f/2.8,bluebells,fuji,fujifilm,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    Now, in steps the X-T1!  A relative speed demon!  Designed to look more like the traditional SLR and marketed to shoot quickly, it just isn’t the camera I was looking for in an X-Series.

    For me, the X-T1 doesn’t follow the same principles as the original X-Series.  It appears to chase the OM-D far too much, which I think is a bit of a shame.  At the same time I do totally understand that Fujifilm is a commercial company and they have to make money, many people prefer the ‘dSLR-style’ design and want weather-sealing as part of the package and this camera gives them that.  Personally I don’t find the X-T1 at all attractive, and with the battery grip attached it is just plain ugly!   Unique idea that, having a battery grip .. oh no, the OM-D has one of those to doesn’t it .. strange coincidence!!  Reading the spec of the X-T1 you could almost copy-and-paste the OM-D spec, or am I being too cynical?!

    fujifilm-xt1-v-olympus-omd

    So, is it better to use than an OM-D?… Hell yes!  Despite me not liking the overall look that much, it is better than the Olympus to use.  The button placement and grip are far more ergonomically designed for my taste, and I’m really not keen on the blank unmarked buttons of the OM-D.  The OM-D seriously feels like a toy in comparison to the X-T1.  Not in build quality, the OM-D feels fairly solid, but in terms of just holding it in your hands.  I’m not bashing the OM-D, in fact before I saw the X-Pro1 I had an OM-D on pre-order so I’m not someone against Olympus or M43 before anyone thinks I am, but as soon as I saw and used an X-Pro1 I had to have one – in fact I bought one of the very first ones out there in the shops!  I have since had a good play with the OM-D and really don’t like the handling at all.  It is just plain fiddly to use and my (not really that big) hands it makes me feel like a giant in mittens when trying to use it!  Yes yes, the OM-D might be faster at this, it might be more that, but if I’ll I’m doing is fiddling around with a camera then I’m not a happy photographer bunny!  The X-T1, whilst smaller than the X-Pro1, I have to admit fits very nicely into my hands and doesn’t feel overly small.  I think you’ve probably guessed by now that I still prefer the X-Pro1 – that body size just fits for me, but you do get used to the smaller X-T1 very quickly and the extra bulge of the grip does admittedly make it easier to hold.

    fujifilm,product,x-t1

    The Controls

    The rear of the X-T1 is quite minimal and the large palm and thumb rest provide good secure grip.  The buttons are well placed and for once on an X-Series camera there are none that I find myself accidentally pressing whilst holding the camera normally.  The exposure compensation dial has been increased in diameter, but is well tucked into the body and doesn’t tend to get knocked.

    The shutter speed dial is the same as before, with the recent 180x setting carried over from the X-E2 to give quick access to the maximum shutter speed you can sync at with flash.

    The front of the camera has a further customisable Fn button, which I use to set the AF point.

    50M,fuji,fujifilm,macro,morocco,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    A second dial is located just under the shutter release button.  I have no idea what to do with it and never use it!  OK, being serious, it is used to control either aperture or shutter speed, but there are dials on the lens and top of the camera for that so I really don’t understand why it is there!  EDIT: It has since been pointed out to me that this front dial can be used to scroll through preview images, and retains any image zoom whilst you do scroll through, so maybe it does have its uses!

    One of the big draw backs for me on the X-T1 is the lack of a built-in flash.  I love to use a built-in flash for a quick pop of fill light and having it integrated into the camera makes that convenient.  Fuji, unlike Sony, do include a small external flash that sits on the hotshoe, but I (and I’m not the only one reading around) had lost it within a few days and although I found it a few days later, I’m sure that isn’t an isolated incident!  The other issues that I found with the flash on are that first the camera looks even uglier and secondly I also found that when it was in the off/down position it affected my ability to get my eye close up against the viewfinder.  On the upside it draws power from the camera battery so no need to carry a second set of batteries.

    arcachon,family,france,holiday

    On the top left is the new ISO dial, which is a first for an X-Series camera.  I’ve heard complaints that is it on the ‘wrong’ side, but I’m not sure how it would fit on the other side of the camera.  I don’t find it an issue at all as I really don’t adjust the ISO all that often, more than likely I know what I’m shooting and it’s fixed for the shoot.  I tend to either use ISO 200 or Auto ISO and rarely spend the shoot constantly changing it, and if I ever do it is a very deliberate choice rather than something I desperately need to get to quickly.  Having the ISO dial on display is a good immediate reminder of what you have it set it and worthwhile for that alone.  There are H1 and H2 settings on the ISO dial, both of which can be custom set to values of your choosing to 12800 and above.  I’ve heard a number of complaints about the push button lock, but if it wasn’t there, you would hear just as many complaints about it not locking, so Fuji wouldn’t win with everyone whatever they chose do it!  It simply isn’t an issue for me, and I can’t see it being all that hard to use.

    bordeaux,france,fuji,fujifilm,holiday,x-t1,xf18-55

    Under the ISO and shutter speed dials are shooting mode and auto exposure modes.  These are both useful as they keep you out of the menu’s and as someone who often shoots panorama, being able to choose panorama mode directly on the dial is fantastic!  Other than that, personally, it never moves out of S.  I have on rare occasions knocked it into either CL or CH modes and when I’ve gone to take a photo frightened myself with a burst of images, I have also found the metering mode changed by accident too, so for future models a minor change might be useful to either make those controls harder to move perhaps.

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    The View Mode makes a welcome return as it had gone missing on the X-E2 to much annoyance (my own too!).  This time it is located on the ‘prism’ and there is an extra mode which makes a lot of sense to me.  That being you can set the camera to have neither the rear screen or EVF active and the EVF will only activate when you put your eye to the camera.  That is something I wanted to see since the original X100 as it helps conserve battery power, and helps speed things up if you see a shot as it allows you to keep the camera in stand-by mode rather than turning it on/off all the time.

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    The right hand and lower D-pad buttons on my version are a little spongy, but I have heard that modes from later in the production line have an improved design, I’m not sure if that’s true or not.  I think part of the problem is that on previous models they were very noticeably ‘clickly’.  After using the camera a while you do get used to them.  I’ve tried a friends newer X-T1 and it is definitely much better than the one I have, so Fuji must have updated something.

    Six buttons across the camera can now be customised as Fn buttons and assigned to a variety of things.  My preference has been to set the D-pad buttons in the same way as they are on the X-E2 because I’m familiar with that and can know instinctively which each button does what without having to remember what unmarked buttons do!   I’m not a big fan of loads of unmarked buttons, the Sony A7 frustrated me for that very reason, but I do see the benefit of having a couple that can be customised to your needs.  As always on the Fuji cameras, if you press and hold on the customisable button a quick menu will pop up allowing you to change that button’s function immediately without having to go into the menu system, which is an excellent idea.

    I know people who have set every button on the D-Pad to AF point change, so that if you want quick access to changing the AF point, all you do is double press the d-pad button and it moves in that direction, neat little solution.  However I use the button on the front to select AF point and then use the d-pad to set it, I think it works just as quickly yet still allows you to customise the four d-pad buttons, which means I can keep them setup the same as my other cameras.

    fuji,fujifilm,hotel,morocco,swimming,x-t1,xf10-24

    The usual top Fn button from other X-Series cameras has been changed to a video record button on the X-T1.  With the ISO dial available I don’t miss this Fn button and the video record button is tucked away enough that you don’t press it by mistake, at least I never have in all the time I’ve used it.

    Between the shutter speed and exposure compensation dial at the back is a new WiFi button that gives quick access to connect your device to the camera for either immediate transfer of images or remote control depending on which option you choose within the App, a lore more about that later!

    My biggest frustration with the design of the buttons is that Fuji have changed the Focus Assist to a separate button now, where on all previous cameras you press in the dial on the back and then use the scroll to control the magnification for either Focus Assist or playback zoom.  As I use several Fuji X-Series cameras that sort of thing does get frustrating as you’ve got to remember what you’re doing on each different camera.  I’m not sure why they decided to change it, but it has been suggested to me that the push-button scroll wheel had a tendency to stop working, although it’s not something I’ve had any problem with myself, perhaps they decided to drop the button/wheel idea for that reason.

    I really wish Fujifilm would decide on one basic button layout and stick to it!  As someone with an X-Pro1, X-E2, X100S and X-T1, having to remember where all the buttons are on each one (especially in the dark) is just frustrating.  I guarantee that I can pick up any pro-level Nikon dSLR and immediately be able to switch between all of them and know exactly where everything is.

    disneyland paris,france,fuji,fujifilm,x-t1,xf18-55

    Connections and other stuff!

    There are doors to the left and right of the camera.  On the right is a side-loading SD card slot, which is compatible with the new UHS-II cards that allow up to 240Mbs.  Shooting at full blast RAW+JPEG it’s amazing to see how many the camera can handle before it slows down, and write speeds are definitely improved.  Personally I’d still prefer the dual-SD slot card design that was obviously planned to start with.  I don’t use the X-T1 as an action camera though, so for people who might, the faster write speeds would obviously be a big benefit to them.  Again, no matter what Fujifilm did, one group of us would say we wanted dual-cards and the other group would say they wanted faster write speeds so it just comes down to making a choice at the end of the day.  As I had pointed out to me… when was the last time an SD card failed on you?

    On the left is a properly weather sealed door with a USB, micro HDMI and mic input, which also doubles as an input for connecting an electronic remote shutter into, allowing you to shoot hands-off, or selecting bulb mode and shooting exposures as long as you choose rather than the 30s limit in-camera.  There is an option within the Movie settings to choose between mic input and remote shutter.  The base of the camera has a rubber plug which removes to allow access to the connection port for the options battery grip.

    The battery grip allows the addition of a second battery and has controls for shutter, AE and AF lock, which make shooting in portrait mode easier.  The two front and rear dials from the main body are repeated on the grip. The battery grip does balance the camera well and is well designed giving both your little finger something to tuck into on landscape mode and making holding the camera in portrait much nicer providing you don’t have a tripod plate attached.  On the base of the grip is a strong single connecting point for a strap.  A lock/open button allows access to the second battery.  As the grip only contains one battery, if you want to replace the battery in the camera you have to remove the grip to do that.  The battery in the grip is used first by the camera and on the screen you get dual power meters.

    fuji,fujifilm,liverpool,x-t1,xf18-55

    That EVF!

    Onto what everyone is probably wondering why I haven’t said anything about yet .. the electronic viewfinder!  Yes, it really is as amazing as you’ve heard!  Do not be fooled though, this is the identical EVF from the X-E2 (now updated in firmware to support X-T1 refresh rate on the X-E2).  But it has a much higher magnification so appears far larger than in the X-E2 and is an absolute joy to use.  Very little information is overlaid on the image to you get a good clear view of what you’re shooting.

    fujifilm,product,x-t1

    The improvements over the previous viewfinders don’t stop there though.  The interface within the viewfinder has been redesigned, and to me this is where the biggest change occurs.   Everything is designed to make it easier on the eye, easier to view the information you want and not get in the way of the image.  The text font and icons have been altered to be easier to view in the viewfinder.  When you rotate the camera into portrait mode all the text rotates so that you can read it the right way up.  It just seems like such an obvious thing that you’ve got to wonder why nobody else has thought of it before now!

    evf,fujifilm,review,xt1

    The split-screen range-finder type manual focus aid can be split off from the main image to a smaller side image meaning you have an uninterrupted view of the scene unlike on the X-E2 and X100s where the overlay covers the centre portion of the screen.  This is also an option on the rear screen too and not restricted to the EVF only.

    fujifilm,product,x-t1

    All these small changes in the EVF add up to a much improved experience and make using the camera a joy to use.  One of the great things about using a CSC is that what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what you get when you take the shot.  Unlike a dSLR you can check and adjust your exposure live, and don’t have to rely on checking the image afterwards on the rear screen, meaning that if you want, you never have to take your eye from the viewfinder.

    The only time I found the EVF to be difficult to use (this applies to the LCD too) is that in very low light where the gain has been pushed to get a bright image the split-screen focussing is impossible to use because there is too much noise to discern the lines of the split image, the image below is out of focus, but you can’t tell because the gain is too high to see the sharp lines of the split image.

    fuji,fujifilm,review,viewfinder,x-t1

    In these circumstances, switching to Focus Peaking is the best option which still works well in low light.

    The lag is almost imperceptible even under low light where Fuji claims it retains 50fps, and it certainly seems like that’s true.  Until now I felt that the Sony EVFs were better than the Fuji’s, but that feels like it has been reversed now.  With the X-E2 receiving a firmware update it brings the fast refresh rate EVF to two cameras in the Fuji X-Series lineup.  Updating the X-E2 is something no other manufacturer I know would even consider doing as it could jeopardise sales of the newer X-T1 from existing X-E2 owners.  As Fuji have shown in the past though, they care more about long-term customer loyalty than short-term sales gain, a refreshing change!

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    Shooting with the X-T1

    CH mode is frightening!  I’m not sure why anyone needs to shoot at whatever the FPS is of that mode.  It is certainly a weird experience shooting with an X-Series camera at that rate, it just seems unnatural!  The only time I’ve used it is when testing out for this write-up.  I’m sure someone will find use for it, but that’s not why I got into the X-Series and not what I do.  The auto-focus tracking is said to be improved but honestly I found it wanting.  I tested it shooting my little girl running towards me several times and it might manage to get half of the images in focus – I’d still buy a Nikon D4 if I really needed that sort of feature!

    I would rather Fujifilm concentrate on other aspects than a feature that just doesn’t seem like it fits within the X-Series philosophy.  The video below is a funny way of making a serious point and matches my view exactly on this subject.

    [embedvideo id=”KDlyoT75YaM” website=”youtube”]

    The Autofocus

    The autofocus of the X-T1 is the best to date from an X-Series camera. I recently got hold of the Leica Touit 50mm macro lens and put it on the X-E2 initially.  It worked ok until I put it in macro mode where it really seemed to struggle.  On switching the lens to the X-T1, it was a totally different experience.  The difference between the Fuji lenses isn’t as marked as it was with the Zeiss macro lens, but there is a definite improvement, particularly in low light.

    fuji,fujifilm,meknes,morocco,night,place el hedim,x-t1,xf10-24

    The rear screen tilts vertically to almost 90 degrees up and about 45 degrees down.  Until you’ve used a camera with one of these you don’t realise how useful they are.  You almost feel crippled when going back to a camera without one.  The only problem is that when you shoot landscape it becomes useless and you feel frustrated that it doesn’t flip horizontally too.  However, there is a new solution for that….

    …the Fuji Camera Remote App.  In a word – fantastic!  Actually several euphoric adjectives can be used to describe it, but it is better than I ever expected Fuji to come up with.  I loved the remote app on that Sony had with the A7 despite it being a bit limited, the Fuji one blows that out of the water!  You have full control over the camera.  It isn’t totally perfect though, and I’ll get to some additions and alterations I’d like to see later.

    2.8/50M,50M f/2.8,50mm,fuji,fujifilm,macro,meknes,morocco,place el hedim,snake charmer,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    It took me a while to get used to the whole WiFi thing on the X-M1 and caused me quite a bit of frustration with either not connecting in time, or the camera/device pairing up.  I think a combination of App updates and me understanding it better has led me to find it now very easy to use and connect.

    The Remote Cam App also allows you to control both stills and video, and then through the App receive them onto the iPhone/iPad/Android device.  There are native versions for both iPhone and iPad.  Be sure to choose the correct application though as the previous Fujifilm Camera App does’t have the tethering capabilities, it is the Fujifilm Camera Remote App you need.

    The is no automatic transfer to the device though, something else I would like to see as an option.  I was taking photos of birds outside and had the camera on a tripod next to the bird feeder and was in the house cosy and warm shooting out of sight, which was what I expect will be a fairly typical use for this.  I’ll be doing a video on the App when I get the chance.

    There are a couple of things that I’d like to see. The first is very frustrating and I cannot see any logic in it whatsoever.  Whatever mode you have the camera in when you connect to the App (PASM) it is locked in that mode until you disconnect.  For example, if you have it in Aperture Priority mode you can change the aperture from the remote App but nothing else.  To change the shutter speed you have to disconnect, come out of the app altogether change the mode physically on the camera then start-up the wifi, connect the device and relaunch the app.  I just don’t get that at all!  The camera dials won’t show what’s really going on anyway so why bother to restrict it in that way.  When you might have your camera outside and you don’t want to disturb what you’re shooting it is a real frustration to deal with as it is so easy to forget to select the correct mode before connecting.

    fujifilm x-t1 arca-swiss grip l-plate

    The other thing I’d like to see is the liveview preview in full screen on the device.  At the moment it is a small box at the top of the App.  On the iPhone this can make it a challenge to see, and more importantly to actually touch focus on the right spot.  A full-screen preview would make it much more useable and on the iPad would mean you could get a nice large live-view of the image.  As part of this, I’d also like to see the live-view automatically zoom when you do manual focus to allow you to get absolute critical focus when doing things manually.  The Sony App does this and in a studio it is a really nice thing to have.

    bordeaux,france,fuji,fujifilm,holiday,x-t1,xf18-55

    High ISO images are very impressive.  The details tend to get smudged, as they always do when you push the ISO up to the extremes, but what impressed me most is the colour retention at the silly settings as I call them – 12800 and 25600.  I mean I wouldn’t make A3 prints from them, but I’m pretty sure I’d be happy with 6×4 prints from ISO 12800 images or family holiday use.  I very rarely use over ISO3200, but when hon holiday at Disney, in the indoor rides that just wasn’t high enough to get shots without using a very sow shutter speed.  Just for fun I tried out ISO12800 and 26500 and couldn’t believe how good they were.  I’d not use those settings on a regular basis so not having RAW files for images above ISO6400 doesn’t bother me, but for very occasional use for family things where it means I could get a shot I wouldn’t be able to otherwise, they surpass my expectations.

    disneyland paris,france,fuji,fujifilm,x-t1,xf18-55

    disneyland paris,france,fuji,fujifilm,x-t1,xf18-55The Intervalometer

    The X-T1 is the only X-Series camera with a built-in intervalometer, which is great for time-lapse.  It works well in practice and is easy to set up with two basic settings, one for interval time and the second showing the number of shots.  One thing that strikes me as odd though is that it is artificially limited to 999 shots, which might sound like a lot, but in time-lapse you often shoot many more than you need to either pick and choose the part you want, or you run the time-lapse at a faster rate to get a smoother video.  It seems silly to restrict it in this way when in reality the only restriction should be the number of images your SD card can store.

    Battery life seems to last well, in the video below I shot 999 images in 2s intervals with a fully charged battery and despite leaving the rear-screen active the camera was still showing a full battery (obviously it wasn’t but was showing 3/3 bars) when it was done.  I shot a further two sequences at 500 images each on the same battery without any problem.

    The following was a 999 shot sequence at 2s intervals, which I put together in Photoshop and exported as a 4K video, which you can watch in up to 4K on YouTube.

    [embedvideo id=”O39xd_wmF-M” website=”youtube”]

    Unlike some other cameras, you have to manually create the time-lapse video from the stills.  Sometimes it is just nice to have the camera create the video file, especially when travelling, rather than having to import all the files to a computer and create the video.  The majority of the time I’d pull it together myself though anyway.

    I really love using the X-T1 to shoot time-lapse and overall it does a pretty good job and I’m so pleased that an intervalometer finally made it into an X-Series camera!  Expect to see a lot more of these!…

    [embedvideo id=”QnpxfXyA_5U” website=”youtube”]

    Video with the X-T1

    What do I say here?!  Video has never been a strong point of the X-Series cameras.  It has been included as a courtesy and Fujifilm have made it fairly clear that their cameras are about shooting stills rater than video.  However on the X-T1 we do have a few more options to play with.  Video can be recorded in either 30 or 60fps at 1080 and 720.  There is an external microphone input (albeit 2.5mm rather than standard 3.5mm) and an option to adjust the mic level in-camera.  Beyond that there is nothing!  There is no video mode, you simply start recording by pressing the record button.  There are no manual controls when shooting video.  The only thing you can do it set the aperture before you start to shoot, everything else is completely automatic.  None of the other functions, shutter speed, ISO or exposure compensation can be used, which seems like a shame as it surely isn’t that difficult to allow them to be used?

    Video quality isn’t amazing, but neither is it terrible!  It does suffer from aliasing on occasion, especially in fine details.

    OK, Confession time!….

    ….which camera do I pick up out of the X-Pro1, X-E2 and X-T1 when I want to shoot now?  The X-T1!  Just don’t tell my X-Pro1!  Yes, ok fine, I admit it.. the X-T1 has totally won me over despite all I have said against it and me not wanting to like it for any of the reasons above!  Everything Fuji have done just makes it overall an easier camera to shoot with.  The X-E2 still gets used plenty and having the same sensor it is handy because I don’t have to match two sets of images to look the same from a single shoot – I just know images from either camera come out looking identical, unlike when I used to work with the X100 and X-Pro1.  What I don’t do however is go back to shooting with it like a dSLR.  I use it as my X100 and X-Pro1 taught me, slow and steady, wait for the right moment and click, but when that right moment comes along I know my best chance of capturing it is on the X-T1.

    fuji,fujifilm,landscape,loughrigg,touit 2.8/50M,x-t1,zeiss

    The X-T1 isn’t a perfect camera for everyone to shoot with, it isn’t a 100% perfect camera for me, and someone somewhere will always find something that doesn’t suit them – that’s fine!  If it doesn’t suit you then you’re not forced to use it, that’s the beauty of there being many other manufacturers and models around.  What I can say is that the X-T1 is the best camera I’ve used so far, not only in the Fujifilm range, but in all of the cameras I’ve used to date.  It suits my style, my way of shooting and does what I want it to do with little fuss.  Any irritation that you may find when you first start shooting with one soon tends to go away once you’ve become used to it.  I’ve shot with it pretty much every day for the past 3 months and I now cannot think of anything that is a genuine day-to-day issue or annoyance with the camera, if anything it just continues to impress me more.

    arcachon,family,france,holiday

    I picked up my X-Pro1 to use again recently after not using it for a while and had never noticed the lag in the EVF before, but going back to it from the X-T1 you can immediately see just how good the X-T1 EVF is and how such a relatively small thing makes a big difference.  Other things like being able to auto preview the image for just 0.5s instead of 1.5s minimum on the X-Pro1 make shooting that much quicker.  Again, it isn’t something that had really bothered me before and something that I hadn’t noticed!  It comes back to what I was saying earlier, no camera is prefect, I love the X-Pro1 and never really noticed things like that when I was shooting with it regularly, you just get used to shooting with what you have and living with it.  It never got in the way before and I would probably not have found these things an issue on the X-T1, but I can’t say that it isn’t nice to have these improvements even if you don’t really notice all of them until you go back again!

    I have to say that the tilting screen is a real advantage in many situations and almost makes me want to use the X-T1 above the others for that alone. The EVF does make shooting nicer, but personally I shoot with the rear screen most of the time these days.  The few dSLR people I’ve shown both the X-E2 and X-T1 to have all immediately picked the X-T1 because as soon as they put their eye to the viewfinder all they wanted was that large viewfinder above everything else! The side-loading SD card is a nice feature and when you use a tripod it’s great to have. The in-built intervalometer is something I’ve missed from my dSLR days and one thing I’ve been waiting for, a handy in-camera feature. I really love the remote control App and wish that Fuji had brought that to the X-E2 with the firmware update, perhaps it will come in the future.

    50M f/2.8,fuji,fujifilm,medina,meknes,morocco,touit,x-e2,zeiss

    Conclusion

    In some ways I see the X-T1 as a step backwards towards the dSLR and away from the fabulous design of the X-Series that drew me to it in the first place, the slow and steady approach to photography that has improved my skills, but in a lot of other ways it is very much a step forwards towards easier to use, faster CSCs.  I still don’t like the look of the X-T1 compared to the other X-Series cameras, it hasn’t grown on me at all.  As a working tool however it improves on all of the previous X-Mount X-Series cameras making things just a little easier to do.  Other than looks and price I cannot think of any reason not to choose the X-T1 over the other cameras in the X-Mount range.  Of course price is an important consideration, and if your budget doesn’t stretch to the X-T1 that does not mean the X-E1, X-E2 or X-Pro1 etc. are suddenly bad cameras, you will still get great image quality out of them and love their unique look and feel.

    What I really wanted to tell you by the end of this was that the X-T1 isn’t worth the extra money over buying an X-E2 as internally it is pretty much identical.  From the offset that was what I had fixed in my mind, but having used the camera for a while now I can’t do that.  The more I use this camera the more it impresses me leaving me no option other than to say an emphatic yes, it really is worth buying over all the other X-Series models.  All the small improvements add up to a much more useful camera overall.  The X-T1 is definitely much more viable as a working professional camera for a much wider range of professionals than any other X-Series model, and has very quickly become my go-to camera for when I simply want to pick up and shoot with no fuss.

    I’m not sure I need to add anything about image quality, we all know what to expect from an X-Series by now and the X-T1 doesn’t disappoint.  With the ever-growing range of exceptional lenses you just cannot go wrong.  More and more professionals are moving over to the X-Series cameras, and they aren’t doing it for fashion.

    If Fujifilm keep improving the X-Series the way they have I’m going to have to start rating them out of more than 100% as there is little room on the scale for me to mark the next model higher!

    More technical information about the X-T1 can be found on the Fujifilm website here.

    Fujifilm X-T1 Review write-up from the real world Fujifilm X-T1 Review and Write Up I have had the X-T1 for a while now since my…
     
  4. Fujifilm X-T1 firmware v1.1 update released

    Fujifilm X-T1 firmware v1.1 update released

    Fujifilm have released a firmware update for the X-T1 adding support for the 18-135mm WR lens, adjusting the display, altering the movie record button behaviour and fixing a couple of bugs.

    Get the firmware here

    http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/firmware/x/xt1/index.html

    X-T1 Firmware Update Ver.1.10 Detail of the update

    The firmware update Ver. 1.10 from Ver. 1.00…

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  5. ONA Camera Bags now available from PhotoMadd

    PhotoMadd is proud to announce a partnership with ONA bags to supply their hand made Italian leather camera bags, combining style and practicality which are prefect for the Fujifilm X-Series cameras.

    We have a wide range from the small one camera size to larger versions for all your gear.

    The Boweryis a perfect street bag for one camera and one lens, or something like an X-T1 and the X100S.  It…

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  6. Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS Wide Angle X-Mount lens - First Impressions

    Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS Wide Angle X-Mount lens – First Impressions

    Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 lens – First Impressions

    Fujifilm UK were kind enough to lend me the new XF 10-24mm lens for a short one week trip to Morocco (thanks guys, much appreciated!).  Due to other commitments whilst there I wasn’t able to use it for as much as I would have liked, but I did manage to get a few hours out on the streets with the lens and obviously played with it at home shooting…

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  7. Zeiss Touit 50mm macro lens first impressions

    This is an early first impressions review of the new Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M macro lens along with a series of images I have taken in the first couple of days.

    The build quality of this lens is fantastic.  It comes presented in a beautiful box and although it’s only something minor that will be kept in the cupboard, it is all part of the experience when you are buying a lens at this price and makes you feel like you have purchased something special.  It actually reminded me that Fujifilm used to present the early X-Series products in really nicely thought out quality boxes, something that sadly appears to have been dropped in recent models of cameras and lenses.

    The smooth barrel and rubber rings are quite a departure from the design of other Zeiss lenses, well any lens really!  I knew I would like it as I have previously hired the 12mm Touit and really liked the feel of that lens.  The aperture ring is nice and tight and unlike the 12mm lens it doesn’t get knocked as easily and stays solidly in position.  Aperture values are notched nicely at 1/3rd stops.

    The focussing ring is wide and well placed.  The fly-by-wire focussing takes a bit of getting used to if you have previously had the fully manual Zeiss lenses but is fine once you get used to it.

    The only downside to the rubber rings is that they pick up every bit of dust in your camera bag.  The upside, unlike the groves of other lenses, is that you can literally wipe if off to a clean like new finish with a cloth and not have to go in-between each grove!

    The hood is a nice quality round piece.  Although it is plastic rather than metal, it feels like a good quality plastic and protects the front element from damage.  The hood is quite long and if you are doing close macro work you will have to remove it as it will obscure the light from your subject.

    50mm f/2.8,fuji,fujifilm,macro,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    Why buy the Zeiss Touit 50mm when I can get the Fuji XF 56mm that is f/1.2 and incredible?!  

    A very good question!  So why did I choose the Touit over the Fujifilm lens that covers approximately the same focal length?  Well, I’m not primarily a portrait photographer, which the XF lens is squarely aimed at.  Although I love the idea of an f/1.2 lens, and I might like it, but I just don’t need it.  The Zeiss lens is (at the time of writing) £120 cheaper, it is smaller and lighter, has the closer focussing, 1:1 macro feature, and in my opinion is nicer looking.  I felt that I would use the macro facility far more often than I would use a lens at f/1.2.  I am by no means saying that one is better than the other, but personally those small advantages of the Zeiss made it worth me getting over the Fuji XF lens.

    Is it sharper / better than the XF 56mm?

    I have no idea!  The XF56mm is a fantastic lens, no doubt.  I’ve played with one, but I don’t have one so I have no way of doing a side-by-side.  What I can say is that the Touit is sharp from wide open at f/2.8 and more than sharp enough for anything I’ll use it for.  At f/22 is does seem to drop off a fraction from what you get at f/16 (see the gallery below with the coins shot at various apertures) when viewed at 100% but still very acceptable.  In the ‘normal’ range I have absolutely zero complaints about images coming from this lens.  I’m sure people who enjoy charts and looking at images at 400% will probably find something to complain about, but I look at the results as you would normally view them and can tell you that it really is excellent.

    The 50mm lens is not just for macro work and makes a very good lens for many situations.  I have no doubt that it will prove to be an excellent portrait lens too, although I haven’t yet had chance to shoot any portraits with it as I’ve had it for a limited time.

    50mm f/2.8,fuji,fujifilm,macro,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    The colour signature is excellent and it gives deep rich colours with good contrast.

    When shooting macro you need to work high into the f-stop ranges having f/22 is useful – in fact it could do with more than that, but that would compromise the lens and we can use focus stacking techniques to achieve a large depth of field if necessary.

    Under certain circumstances the bokeh can get a little fussy, but in those circumstances many lenses struggle.

    50m,50mm f/2.8,bluebells,fuji,fujifilm,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    Given the right background and enough separation and you get a lovely creamy out of focus area.

    50m,50mm f/2.8,bluebells,fuji,fujifilm,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    The auto-focus of any macro lens is going to be slow simply because of the huge range that it has to work through.  One of the nice things about the Zeiss is that it respects the Macro setting on the camera body, so if you don’t have Macro set on the camera it will pretty much operate like a normal 50mm lens and AF, although cannot be described as rapid, is quick enough for normal use.  Turn macro on though and focus on something close and it slows down quite significantly as you would expect.  I initially put the lens on the X-E2 and found it did struggle sometimes, particularly close up and would often give false focus locks.  I attribute this to the X-E2 body rather than the lens as I later switched it to the X-T1 and it was transformed.  Overall focus speed was much improved and focus seemed to lock on much more rapidly, especially when focussing close up.

    50mm f/2.8,fuji,fujifilm,macro,touit,x-t1,zeiss

    The only AF problem I’ve found is that at the extreme close up range the auto-focus never seems to lock on, even though you can see it getting into focus as it goes through the range.  Switch to manual focus and wind the AF dial around and you appear to be able to focus closer to things than the normal AF allows.  I’m not quite sure why this is.  Having said that, for macro work I’d always use manual focus anyway.  The fly-by-wire focussing isn’t quite as good as on their other lenses and could almost be accused of being a little too quick when doing macro work, so you have to be very gently with the focussing ring.  It is a learning process and once you spend a little time getting used to it, it turns out to be perfectly useable.  With the focus peaking of the later X-Series you can really nail the focus quickly and use the magnification to get it absolutely spot on if you’re looking at critical focus.

    Conclusion

    Overall this is an excellent quality lens as you would expect from Zeiss.  I’ve only had it two days, but I am very impressed so far and certainly do not regret picking this over theFuji XF 56mm lens as I definitely see myself using the closer focussing more often than I would the f/1.2 of the 56mm.

    Image quality from the lens amazing and I have no issues shooting this lens wide open at f/2.8.

    The Zeiss Touit 50M isn’t widely available in the UK yet, but a few suppliers have it in stock at around £779.

    More information on the Touit 50mm lens can be found here on the Zeiss website

    Gallery of images

    Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M macro lens for the Fujifilm X-Mount Zeiss Touit 50mm macro lens first impressions This is an early first impressions review of the new Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M macro lens along with a series of images I have taken in the first couple of days.
     
  8. New firmware for the Fujifilm X-E2 brings X-T1 features and enhancements

    New firmware for the Fujifilm X-E2 brings X-T1 features and enhancements

    A new firmware update has been released today for the Fujifilm X-E2 bring with it updated features and enhancements from the X-T1.

    The refresh rate of the EVF has been updated to match that of the X-T1

    Focus peaking is now available in a selection of colours rather than just the white from before – yellow and red are included.

    Face detectioncan be assigned to the Fn button now, something I use a…

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  9. Fujifilm XQ1 Review from the Real-World!

    I really enjoyed using the Fujifilm XF1 last year, and thought it looked fabulous, but that unconventional styling and high initial price seem to put a lot of people off buying it.  The answer this year from Fujifilm is the XQ1.  A much more conventional looking camera with an upgraded sensor, but a very familiar f/1.8 25-100mm lens setup.  This is a real-world fujifilm XQ1 review of how I’ve used the camera in the past few months I’ve had it for anything from family holidays, to days out, parties to just general everyday stuff!

    I’ve shot quite a variety of things on it, many of which you can see in the review to give you an idea of what it is capable of.  At the bottom you can see a gallery of images taken in Cologne at Christmas which covers quite a wide variety of images.

    The XQ1 takes components from both the X20 and the XF1.  The latest X-Trans II sensor is straight out of the X20, giving you the best 2/3rd inch sensor that Fujifilm do, and it seems like it has the lens from the XF1.  This time though the lens is fully automated and the fold-away-twist manual zoom that some people didn’t like is gone from the XF1.

    fujifilm,xq1

    In terms of size, the XQ1 is really quite small.  It has become my take everywhere camera as it just drops into my pocket without me noticing it, and the iPhone WiFi connectivity means I can share images straight away, but at a much higher quality than if I’d taken them with my iPhone alone.

    A side-by-side comparison here shows the XQ1 against its closest rivals, the Sony RX100II and the Canon S120.  I’m pretty sure that Fujifilm measured an RX100 and then just copied the dimensions exactly!!  They are that hard to tell apart in terms of size.

    fujifilm-xq1-sony-rx100-canon-s120-comparison

    The XQ1 is the camera that has most surprised me in the past 12 months.  As soon as I downloaded the images from it I was amazed that this sort of quality could come from such a small package.  The XF1 was good, but with the X-Trans sensor this camera is a definite leap ahead, becoming a serious rival for the Sony RX100 but at a much lower price as it is approximately £200 cheaper.  That is in stark contrast to the XF1 and X20, which both were very much priced at a premium at launch.  Fujifilm seem to have learned from this and have given the XQ1 a very modest launch price of £349, although most retailers seem to be now selling it at £299, nearly half the price of the RX100mkII, and still less than you can get the older RX100 for.

    fuji,fujifilm,italy,review,samples,xq1

    Let me just be clear about any review scores here from the start.  I don’t compare camera against camera.  If I compare this to an X-Pro1 or X100S the image quality will obviously be quite a bit lower.  What I do score it on is based on what the camera is designed for, how it performs compared to my expectations, the price, and how it against to similar competition.  So if the final review score is higher than a much more expensive camera, that doesn’t mean it is better than the much more expensive camera with a lower score, it is simply judged here in its own class.

    What’s this PhotoMadd Factor?  That is a guide to how I ‘feel’ about the camera, how I feel about the performance, but much more than that, it is how much I enjoy using it!  It is entirely subjective to me!

    fuji,fujifilm,italy,review,samples,xq1

    Day-to-day use

    The XQ1 is not one of the small Fujifilm X-Series cameras where all the manual dials are on display like the X20.  It follows the more point-and-shoot style design of minimal buttons.  However, the XQ1 does have full manual functionality if you need it, so can be used by more advanced users wanting to do something specific.  It is easy to use in all modes.

    A single large dial on the top rotates to select the mode.  In addition to the PASM modes, it give access to a custom settings mode, scene mode, Advanced, Filter and the two auto modes.

    SR+ is the more advanced Auto mode on the camera.  Fujifilm’s description of this mode is “Selects optimum camera settings for certain modes” – well I’m not really sure about you, but I think I’d rather like the regular Auto mode to do that!  The idea behind it seems to be a set-and-forget style of shooting, where you have pretty much no control over what the camera does.  Whereas the ‘regular’ auto mode tries to choose the best setting it can, but does allow you some choice over what settings to use, for example in auto mode you can manually choose macro mode, but SR+ decides things like that for you.  In reality, the SR+ mode works pretty damn well and if you want a point-and-shoot with better image quality than a regular point-and-shoot, but don’t want to worry about anything then you’ll not go far wrong using SR+!

    fujifilm,xq1

    Turn the dial to Adv and you get a a selection of modes from panorama (my favourite) to pro focus, pro low light and multiple exposure to allow you to get more from the camera.  In panorama mode you can choose from 360, 180 or 120 degree panoramas.  Personally I feel that 120 is more than enough as otherwise viewing them becomes a bit odd!  You can also choose to shoot panoramas with the camera in landscape or portrait mode.  Rotate the camera into portrait orientation and shooting the panorama that way gives a ‘taller’ panorama than you get shooting with the camera in landscape orientation and allows you to fit more into the scene.  This is the way I shoot all panoramas.  Even with moving water (very difficult to stitch without artefacts) with XQ1 does a good job.

    The first shot is straight out of the camera, and aside from a little lens flare (understandable) it has done a very good job even under the very difficult circumstances with the bright sun and darker shade of sunset.

    fujifilm,windermere,xq1,panorama

    Below is a panorama I stitched in Photoshop and converted to B&W in Lightroom.  I actually think that the camera did a better job on the water than Photoshop!

    fujifilm,windermere,xq1,panorama

    The pro-focus mode shoots a series of images and uses them to create a composite to give the effect of the shallow depth of field you get from a camera with a larger sensor.  In general it works well, but not something I’m likely to use regularly.

    There are also a variety of filters built-in to the camera.  They are not something I use, but can be fun to play with!

    fujifilm,xq1,filter

    The miniature effect is good fun if you can get the right vantage point.  You need to be up high and pointing down onto a subject to get the best effect.

    fuji,fujifilm,italy,review,samples,xq1

    What’s good?

    Image Quality of this camera truly surprised me when I downloaded them to the computer.  The X-Trans II sensor really does get the best possible out of the 2/3rd inch sensor, and for a small camera really does perform well up to ISO 1600.

    christmas,france,fuji,fujifilm,xq1,high iso,1600

    Personally I wouldn’t push it much beyond that, but I’m used to the large X-Series cameras so I’m a bit spoilt!  It is certainly a great camera to carry with you every day, and for non-professional use you really can’t complain at all.  Anyone wanting a day-to-day family camera with better image quality than even the better higher-end point-and-shoots such as the Canon S120 (which is the same price) will not go wrong with this little Fujifilm XQ1.

    At ISO 800 the XQ1 is very capable and with the built-in optical image stabilisation system it means you can get steady shots indoors easily even under low light conditions.

    for sale,fujifilm,italy,travel,xq1

    It is discrete! A great camera for use on the streets and if you are into B&W you can choose the B&W film simulation mode.  The XQ1 also shoots RAW which you can process later if you want more control.

    fuji,fujifilm,italy,review,samples,xq1

    The camera is really very easy to use, all the controls fall to hand, it is a camera you can go out with your family, stick it on auto and enjoy the day rather than worry about taking photos, but then when you want to do something creative or more serious, it has all the full manual controls and the image quality to produce some really stunning images.

    The XQ1 is a very versatile compact camera, the zoom, whilst not the longest gives a good range and works particularly well close up.

    fujifilm,xq1

    fujifilm,xq1

    The zoom means you can easily get in close to details reasonably far away and the lens retains a good quality image.

    fujifilm,xq1

    Colours out of the camera are typically Fuji with bold vibrant colours that pop without any need to fiddle afterwards.

    fujifilm,xq1

    The XQ1 makes a good family camera and is quite quick to start-up and get shooting with, with fast auto-focus even indoors and no discernible shutter lag meaning you can capture fleeting moments easily.

    fujifilm,xq1

    The pop-up flash works really well.  It is programmed very carefully to try not to give the startled deer look, and in the evening it also does a really good job of balancing the low ambient light with the foreground subject so both are well-lit.  Fujifilm have really nailed on-camera flash better than anyone else over the past year or so.

    christmas,cologne,fuji,fujifilm,germany,xq1

    Most cameras this size will simply expose for the subject and the background will be completely black.  This was shot straight out of the camera in auto mode with no fiddling or having to adjust any settings.

    You can also have a bit of fun with the built-in flash, especially when you have bouncy children!

    b&w,fuji,fujifilm,xq1

    Built in WiFi means that sharing images to your phone/tablet and then quickly onto social media is very easy.  I have been doing this regularly and now often choose to use the XQ1 rather than my iPhone because the image quality is that much better and sharing is so easy that it really doesn’t take much more effort, but leaves you with a great quality image for use later if you want to print it out.

    For a small camera I’m surprised how well the XQ1 deals with images containing a high dynamic range – by that I mean bright light and dark shadows.  Most cameras with smaller sensors really struggle and tend to blow out the highlights or have no detail in the shadows.  I think this is where the advantage of the X-TRANS sensor shows though.

    fujifilm,xq1

    christmas,france,fuji,fujifilm,xq1

    What’s bad?

    Long-exposure images at high ISO are restricted, as they are on the X20.  I understand what Fujifilm are doing – at high ISO and long exposure you’re opening the camera up to the worst conditions you can for noise.  At ISO 100 you can shoot up to a 30 second exposure but as you move up the range, that reduces until at ISO 1600 you can only shoot a maximum of a 1s exposure.  For the vast majority of people this probably isn’t going to be an issue, but it is something you need to be aware of if you’re intending to do long-exposure night-time photography with it.

    The be honest that’s about it!  This really is a great little camera.

    Conclusion

    Despite the variety of cameras I have shot with, some of them amazing, the XQ1 is genuinely the camera that has impressed me most in the past 12 months because of the image quality and versatility from something so small.  I use this as my day-to-day in-pocket camera, and sometimes in addition to my larger X-Series cameras.  It is rarely away from my side.  The size just means you don’t notice yourself carrying it, and the image quality is good enough for the vast majority of what you’re likely to be shooting day-to-day without having a pre-arranged shoot planned.

    The XQ1 is ideal as a primary family and travel camera with its lightweight compact size, yet producing high quality images suitable for print as well as the ease of which you can share those images quickly on the web using the built-in WiFi.

    Image quality is hard to argue with from such a compact camera and certainly a good jump up from the iPhone and other small compacts.  The street price makes this a genuine bargain, especially compared to the likes of the Sony RX100II which comes in at nearly double, but with very few, if any, advantages that I can find over the XQ1.

    Fujifilm UK are currently offering (as on May 2014) £30 cash back and if you buy from Wilkinson Cameras you will get a further £10 cash back immediately from them at the till, making this camera effectively £259, cheaper than even purchasing it from Amazon!

    Fujifilm XQ1 Gallery

    Fujifilm XQ1 Review and Real-World Write Up Fujifilm XQ1 Review from the Real-World! I really enjoyed using the Fujifilm XF1 last year, and thought it looked fabulous, but that unconventional styling and high initial price seem to put a lot of people off buying it.  
     
  10. Fujifilm launches new tele-conversion lens for the X100 / X100S

    Fujifilm launches new tele-conversion lens for the X100 / X100S

    Fujifilm launches new tele-conversion lens for the X100 / X100S 16.04.2014

    TCL-X100 with X100S

    Fujifilm is pleased to announce the launch of the TCL-X100, a tele-conversion lens designed specifically for the Fujifilm X100 and Fujifilm X100S cameras. The lens attaches directly onto the camera and increases picture taking versatility by multiplying the fixed focal length by approx. 1.4x,…

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